Basic Proofreading: Editorial Skills One


Completely revised and updated to include the most recent on-screen proofreading techniques, this is the only in-depth Self-Study training course that takes you from complete beginner to PQB qualified proofreader in one step.

What is proofreading?

Woman sitting at desk smilling

Proofreading is the process of checking written materials for errors before they are published. These materials may include books, magazines, blogs, websites, brochures, journals and official documents.

Basic Proofreading is designed to give you the skill, judgement and understanding of the publishing process that you will need to be a successful proofreader. The course includes extensive practice opportunities and exposure to a wide variety of materials and practical methods. 

Five reasons to choose Basic Proofreading

  1. Learn to proofread in the way that clients want it done, on screen or on paper
  2. Cover the requirements of the wider business world as well as publishing
  3. Have the support of a personal tutor at every stage of assessment
  4. Learn and practise with 36 self-check exercises
  5. Benefit from the most widely recognised industry qualification 

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will be able to:

  • mark up on paper and on screen, and understand the differences between the two
  • understand and use British Standards Institution symbols 
  • understand and mark up on screen in Adobe Reader and Microsoft Word
  • make informed decisions when marking up proofs - what to change, what to leave
  • follow the instructions of an editor, and give clear instructions to a typesetter

This course contributes to PUB 14 and PUB 19 of the Book & Journal Publishing National Occupational Standards.

How does the course work?

There are six learning modules, five of which contain a number of self-check exercises and a longer assignment, which you will submit to your personal tutor for marking  and commentary. Additional sections will cover the finer points of on-screen mark up, an explanation of the publishing process and where the proofreader fits in. As a conclusion, we offer career advice and recommendations for further training.

Course materials are accessed through the PTC's online learning platform, so you will need Adobe Reader (XI or DC) and Microsoft Word (2010 or later) in order to complete the coursework.

Payment Options

Basic Proofreading costs £395. You can pay for the course in three instalments: the first instalment of £185 is payable on enrolment; the second and third instalments of £105 each will be automatically collected between the 10th and 15th of the following two months.

You can opt to receive a printed copy of the module chapters for £30, payable on enrolment. These may be useful for reference, but the printed modules do not include the exercises and assignments, which must be completed via the online learning platform.

Important note:

You must complete the course within 12 months of enrolment or, if you wish to continue the course beyond this period, you can study for a further 12 months following payment of a re-registration fee. Any further extensions are at the discretion of The Publishing Training Centre.

Have a look through our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. 

How to Enrol

To enrol, you need to click on the Add to Cart button on this page. You will be asked to register (if you have not already done so). You will, at that point, be able to pay immediately by credit/debit card, request a pro-forma invoice or download and complete a “fillable” PDF enrolment form. This form can be emailed to or posted to the Publishing Training Centre, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A.

Money back guarantee

If, within 30 days of receiving your course materials (and before any assignments have been sent to your tutor for marking), you decide that the course is not for you, simply let us know to receive a full refund. Your access to the learning platform will cease once your refund is confirmed.

What is Included?

Course Materials

Full access to the PTC's online learning platform where you will find all the materials you need to complete the course. Downloadable materials mean you can practise your new skills as many times as you need to feel confident that you have mastered them.

Your own tutor

Each student is assigned an experienced proofreader as a tutor who will support you through the course and for up to three months after completion.


 Upon successfully completing the course you will receive:

• A completion certificate from PQB showing whether you have achieved a pass, merit or distinction in your work.

• An entry in the PTC’s Freelance Finder – the listing can be used by companies when they are looking to employ freelancers.

• SfEP points – passing this course is worth points towards upgrading your SfEP membership.


Who is it for?

  • New editorial staff looking to increase your skills
  • Career-changers looking for a flexible and interesting career
  • Anyone who proofreads as part of their job but has no formal training
  • Anyone looking to work as a freelance proofreader

About the Author

Gillian Clarke has been a freelance proofreader and editor since 1975. She is a founder member and honorary member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and was responsible for setting up its training programme. 

Margaret Aherne has worked since 1986 as a proofreader, copy-editor, project manager and tutor/mentor for a wide range of publishing clients, as well as for bodies such as the Audit Commission. She was also commissioned to create and deliver the PTC’s Advanced Copy-Editing one-day course and in 2011 became the tutor for the PTC’s online Grammar at Work module. She is a founder member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) and is a mentor in proofreading and copy-editing on the SfEP’s mentoring scheme.

* Payment Options:

Printed Manual:

Special Offer:

Study Time

At least 50 hours and up to 12 months to complete

Special Offer

Good grammar is essential for a proofreader. We strongly recommend you also work through Essential Grammar. This normally costs £70 but if booked at the same time as Basic Proofreading the price is reduced to £35.

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Copyright © 2014 The Publishing Training Centre, 6 Bell Yard, London, WC2A 2JR
The Publishing Training Centre is a registered charity. Registered name: The Publishing Training Centre Foundation, a company limited by guarantee incorporated in England and Wales.
Registration number: 1253854. Registered office: 16 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BX. Tel: +44 (0)20 8874 2718